Monday, June 22, 2015

Learning to count again

"Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done." – Jonathan Oatman Jr. (1897)

One of my elementary school teachers used to have us sing this song each week as she accompanied us on the giant dilapidated piano I can still picture. She never failed to play it with enthusiasm and energy. I think we were actually more captivated with the rhythm than with the words, since it encouraged us to mimic a boisterous singing marching group. I’m pretty sure being thankful and taking stock wasn’t on our minds.

Nevertheless, worn in by childhood memories, this song comes back to me often as I work. As I read through and sign report cards, observe year-end activities, take in an avalanche of pictures, and anticipate a graduation on the horizon I can’t help but make an observation. God is over all, in all, and through all. Naming the blessings “one by one” directs us to take in the fullness of “every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1) God loves LCES and is at work among us. Praise the Lord!

Counting blessings in this way is not intended to be a “cheer up, it’s not that bad” antidote to the very real and pressing challenges we face. We wouldn’t be authentic if we didn’t acknowledge that the pathway through this year at LCES has included some dark clouds. Financial hardship, disappointment, grief, conflict, and uncertainty have been part of our individual and collective pathway.

We are consoled and encouraged that God is much larger than any of these. Even though we are
“burdened by a load of care” as the song states later, we are wise to follow David and say “I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.” (Psalm 42:5) Let’s not forget, He who promised is able.

When the celebrating and thanksgiving of this week ends, may the Lord bless our LCES families, students, and staff with a time of refreshing change and rest. We can’t wait to see everyone again in September to see what God has in store for us at LCES!

Grace and peace,  SJ

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